Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Continuing Education

The thing I was most looking forward to in bringing Short Round and Krista and their lambs here was watching the lambs race and play.  The second thing I was looking forward to was the "continuing education" of how to care for the ewes and lambs.

I've been very fortunate for several years now to spend a lot of time in the lambing barns at Final Frontier Farm and Tring Farm.  I am fairly competent caring for ewes and lambs in the first several days after lambing, but they leave the nursery pens and head to the big field while I stay in the nursery caring for the next batch of ewes and lambs...  

I knew two 10 year old ewes was possibly going to be a bit of a challenge, especially as Krista's little ewe lamb started life with a bit of a handicap.  Maggie's doing much better now, but in getting to this point we've had some other issues arise which we've dealt with as we've gone along but I did think the other day that I was getting a little more continuing education than I'd hoped for ;-).

Caring for animals is always stressful. Sheep don't really "love to lay down and die on you" as is commonly repeated.  Sheep are prey animals and they are wired to never show weakness in case a predator is watching.  Watching your sheep closely is the best way to catch a problem before it becomes a serious issue.  

I frequently walk to the barn worried about what I might have missed. Are the ewes up and grazing?  Resting and chewing cud?  Udders okay?  Lambs getting enough to eat?  Someone looking droopy?  What's that poop look like?  Am I missing anything...?

This morning I got to the barn and only saw the two ewes out grazing.  It's cold (awesome weather I might add :-) so I wasn't panicked that the lambs were missing.

Ellie was tucked in some straw just outside the door.

And Maggie and Christopher were snugged together inside the barn.  

All three lambs were doing the same thing, so I felt good that everything was okay.  That freed my mind up to think about whether the lambs had decided it was too cold to get up early or if their moms told them to stay put while they went out for some breakfast.  And that's the sort of continuing education I was hoping for :-).


Shirley said...

That bit about prey animal behaviour totally makes sense. And maybe the perception that sheep just lay down and die on you is because they are so good at hiding their issues that it just seems that one day they give up and die but in reality they have just successfully hidden their illness.
Smart babies! I'd stay cuddled up in the cold too. After all, they can wait for warm breakfast milk to be ubered to them!

ineedorange said...

I think all of us are programmed not to show weakness.

So often we don't realize anything is wrong with our dog, say, until the hemangiosarcoma has basically taken over their whole abdomen. :-(

Wondering, with you, why the lambies stayed in (or very near) the barn.

Delrene said...

I hope they continue to improve. The babies I know were compromised and there was concern. Thinking positive thoughts for these sweet babies and older Moms.

Sandy said...

When any of my animals were "NQR - Not. Quite. Right", I would often lame t that I wished they would TALK to me...tell me what was wrong. But then I quickly realized that I would have to listen to all their other comments and opinions every other day, too. Hmmmm...maybe not.

LannieK said...

So much to learn... they do talk, but the language can be difficult to understand sometimes. I think you do awesome. Now if you could straighten out my cats ~

Far Side of Fifty said...

You are a great Sheep Mama:) Who doesn't like to sleep in on a cold morning while your Mom is off grazing!


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